This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Sarah Olson is a "technical writer, radio producer and independent journalist based in Oakland, CA. She has been a regular contributor to Pacifica Radio, Free Speech Radio (web) and San Francisco Liberation Radio. She is a New Hampshire native, and majored in women’s studies at Simmons College in Boston." 
In May 2006, she interviewed First Lieutenant Ehren Watada. "In the interview, he asserted that it is his duty as an officer to evaluate the legality of his orders. He said that he could not participate in the Iraq War because it was 'manifestly illegal' and that it would make him a party to war crimes." 
A few weeks later, Watada refused to go to Iraq. "In June 2006, Lt. Watada made national headlines when he refused to deploy to Iraq. A court-martial has been convened with one count of 'missing movement' and four counts of 'conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.' Each of the latter four charges is based entirely on political speech. Lt. Watada’s court-martial is scheduled to begin on February 5, 2007. If convicted, Lt. Watada could spend up to six years in prison.
"The Army selected portions of Sarah’s interview to comprise one of the charges of 'conduct unbecoming.' Army Prosecutors claim they need to subpoena Sarah to testify as a prosecution witness to substantiate that charge." 
"The military's willingness to subpoena journalists is wrongheaded and ominous," Olson said. "It's a reporter's job to report the news. It's not a reporter's job to participate in the prosecution of ... sources. Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."
In mid-December 2006, Olson was served with a subpoena to give evidence in Watada's court martial. The military has also subpoenaed Gregg Kakesako, the military affairs reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and has listed freelance journalist Dahr Jamail, despite his objections, as a prosecution witness in the case.
Articles By Sarah Olson
Related to Lt. Watada
- Interview: "First Officer Announces Refusal to Deploy to Iraq," truthout, June 7, 2006.
- Report: "First Officer Publicly Resisting War Gains National Support," truthout, June 8, 2006.
- "The Courage to Resist: A US Lieutenant Refuses Deployment to Iraq," Left Turn, June 8, 2006.
- Perspective: "When Soldiers Refuse to Fight: Is the US Army Trying to Silence Lt. Watada?" truthout, June 14, 2006.
- Report: "Lieutenant Watada Refused Iraq Deployment Orders Today," truthout, June 22, 2006.
- Interview with Lt. Watada: "Dissenters or Deserters?" Making Contact/National Radio Project, July 12, 2006.
- Report: "Iraq War Vets' Support for Lt. Watada Growing," truthout, August 16, 2006; AlterNet, August 17, 2006: "A growing number of Iraq war combat vets are resisting orders, going to jail, or going AWOL -- and they want to talk about why."
- "Lieutenant Watada Should Be Prosecuted, Article 32 Hearing Finds," truthout, August 25, 2006.
- "Lieutenant Watada Faces New Charges," truthout, September 18, 2006.
- "Why I object to testifying against Lt. Watada", Commentary, Editor & Publisher, December 30, 2006.
- "Army Attempts to Redefine Free Speech," AlterNet, January 2, 2007: "When does political speech become a crime punishable by imprisonment? When the Army doesn't like what it hears. One journalist shares the battle she and her source face against censorship."
- "Is Lt. Watada an Isolated Case of Military Dissent?" Common Dreams, February 28, 2007.
- Archive for Sarah Olson, Making Contact/National Radio Project.
- "Marriage Promotion, Reproductive Injustice, and the War Against Poor Women of Color. Marriage is not the cure-all for poor women, as Republicans would have you believe," dollars&sense (Utne Reader), March 31, 2005.
- "Refusing to Fight,"Making Contact/National Radio Project, June 29, 2005. Posted by Not in Our Name.
- "The Long Walk to Abolish the Death Penalty," Making Contact/National Radio Project, May 3, 2006.
- Report: "Bush Pushes Nuclear Weapons Development in US," truthout, September 1, 2006.
- "Marching Against the Freedom Agenda," truthout, September 19, 2006.
- "Journalist Jailed for Refusing to Turn Over Protest Footage," truthout, October 3, 2006.
- "Richard Pombo: The 'Darth Vader' of the Environment," truthout, October 13, 2006.
- Free Press Working Group
- Phone: 510-764-2069
Related SourceWatch Resources
- John Stauber
- Defend The Press
- Ehren Watada
- Josh Wolf
- shield law
- U.S. Military Code of Conduct (UCMJ)
Letters in Support of Olsen
- Society of Professional Journalists, "Letter to Commanding General Fort Lewis and I Corps, Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik", January 5, 2007.
- PEN, "Letter to Honorable Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense", January 5, 2007.
- Daniel Hug, "Troubled Journalist Honored at Fundraiser," The Golden Gate [X]Press Online, September 22, 2006.
- Aaron Glantz, "Reporter summoned to testify against military objector", Inter Press Service, December 14, 2006.
- Bob Egelko, "Army subpoenas journalists over officer's quotes," San Francisco Chronicle, December 18, 2006.
- Jason Leopold, "Truthout's Sarah Olson Subpoenaed in Watada Case," truthout, December 15, 2006; ZNet, December 18, 2006.
- "New Government Subpoenas. Suppressing Dissent Under Cover of Law," RWOR.org, December 24, 2006.
- Free Press Working Group, "Journalists say free press threatened by Army subpoena", Free Press, December 28, 2006.
- "Freelancers Fight Army Subpoenas to Testify in Court-Martial," Associated Press (Editor & Publisher), December 29, 2006.
- Press Release: "Journalists speak out against Army's attempts to compel their testimony in court-martial," East Bay Indymedia, December 29, 2006.
- "More reporters facing jail," SFBG.com Blog, December 29, 2006.
- Press Release: "Journalists Sought for Testimony in Military Hearing," Common Dreams, January 2, 2007.
- Kelly Kennedy, "Reporters decry subpoena in Watada case", Army Times, January 2, 2007.
- Free Press Working Group, "Army delays testimony of journalist in Iraq case: Media coverage and opposition grows", Free Press, January 2, 2007.
- Amy Goodwin, "U.S. Army Subpoenas Independent Journalist to Testify in Court-Martial of War Resister First Lt. Ehren Watada," Democracy Now!, January 2, 2007.
- Matthew Cardinale, "Delay in Reporter Subpoena in War Objector's Tribunal," APN (Political Affairs Magazine), January 4, 2007.
- Mark Tran, "The Iraq war on trial. Already bogged down in Iraq, the US military must now deal with a court martial hearing that threatens to put the invasion itself in the dock," Guardian Unlimited (UK), January 4, 2007.
- Joe Garofoli, "Journalist in legal battle with military", San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 2007. See photo.
- Kelly Kennedy, "Prosecutors subpoena journalists for Watada court-martial," Army Times, January 8, 2007.
- Editorial: "Military injustice: Army prosecutors are going too far in trying to conscript reporters to boost their case in a soldier's court-martial," Los Angeles Times (Free Press), January 8, 2007.
- Free Press Working Group, "Military Reporters and Editors on subpoenas", Free Press, January 10, 2007.
- "Making Contact's Sarah Olson Fights U.S. Army's Attack on Journalists and Anti-War Voices," National Radio Project, January 10, 2007.
- "Interview a Soldier, Go to Jail," PRWatch.org. January 17, 2007.
- Matthew Rothschild, "Journalist on Hot Seat in Court-Martial Case," The Progressive, January 17, 2007.
- "Two Journalists Gets Subpoenas in Probe of Soldier," Associated Press (Editor & Publisher), January 18, 2007.
- Bob Egelko, "Judge lets charges against Army officer stand. Trial to proceed on refusal to deploy, criticism of Bush," San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 2007.
- Paul McLeary, "Sarah Olson On Her Role In A Court Martial," CJR Daily, January 19, 2007.
- John Nichols, "Sarah Olson and the Struggle to Save Journalism," The Nation, January 21, 2007.
- Norman Solomon, "The Pentagon vs. Press Freedom. Raid on the First Amendment," CounterPunch], January 22, 2007: "By sending subpoenas to Sarah Olson and to another journalist who has reported on Watada (Gregg Kakesako of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin), the Pentagon is trying to chip away at the proper role of news media."
- Joe Strupp, "Reporters Gain Support in Resisting Court Martial Testimony," Editor & Publisher, January 23, 2007.
- Marc Cooper, "The Press and the Watada Trial," The Nation, January 23, 2007.
- "Journalists sign petition to support Olson," Peninsula Press Club, January 24, 2007.
- Press Release: "National Press Club Defends Subpoenaed Reporters," National Press Club (Earthtimes.org), January 25, 2007.
- "Media group is opposing subpoenas of journalists," The Honolulu Star Bulletin, January 26, 2007.
- Phil Donahue, "Get Sarah Olson! Why her case is so important," GNN, January 26, 2007.
- John Stauber, "Defend the Press and Sarah Olson," PRWatch, January 27, 2007.
- Doug Ireland, "Sarah Olson, The Pentagon, And The First Amendment," ZNet, January 27, 2007.
- News Release: "Growing Coalition Demands the Army Withdraw the Subpoena of Journalist Sarah Olson. Prominent Journalists, Media Organizations and Thousands of Citizens Rally to Defend the Press," PRNewswire, January 29, 2007.
- John Stauber, News Release: "Growing Coalition Demands the Army Withdraw Its Subpoena of Journalist Sarah Olson," PRWatch, January 29, 2007.
- "Watada lawyer says military dropping two charges," The Honolulu Advertiser, January 29, 2007.
- News Release: "Defend The Press Coalition Declares Victory for Journalist Sarah Olson. Statement From Sarah Olson & John Stauber in US v Watada Court-Martial Case," PRNewswire, January 29, 2007.
- Hal Bernton, "Army drops 2 charges against officer," The Seattle Times, January 30, 2007.
- Matthew Rothschild, "Sarah Olson off the Hook," The Progressive, January 30, 2007.
- John Stauber, "Sarah Olson and Supporters Speak about Press Freedom in Watada Case at National Press Club on Thursday, February 1st," PRWatch, February 1, 2007.